Monday, January 31, 2022

We Survived the Storm! ♥

Good Morning Friends! Happy Monday! 

It's a balmy 5 degrees out today. Brrr! We've reached a new level of cold at this point of winter, but it is almost February so I'm not surprised.  I've spent the morning adding a few Valentine touches around the house.  Valentines Day is one of my favorite holidays because I can decorate for an entire month with all the pink hearts I want and not get any grief from the boys I live with! It's fabulous!  Plus I always feel like winter is such a pretty backdrop for pink & red things.  Everything is so plain after Christmas....until now 

Anyway, today is also special because it's Rob's 50th birthday!!! We are being very low key and by his request just keeping is simple tonight.  Which is OK by me as it's freezing out and staying in PJ's is music to my ears.  I am making chocolate cake though, so it's a celebration for all of us : ) 


I wanted to let you all know that we survived Saturday's blizzard!!! It snowed ALL DAY LONG and did not stop until a whopping 2 feet of snow was left behind.  Thankfully we did not lose power and were toasty warm throughout the storm.  

I went outside this morning to take pictures of the clean up, which I was not apart of.  LOL
My job is to make the hot chocolate 
(that's never a problem!:)

They cancelled school for John today because it's going to take the town some time to clean up the roads and (find) the sidewalks.  He was very happy to have a snow day! 

Like I mentioned, it's only 5 degrees today so what looks like fluffy snow is really blocks of ice.  

FYI - it's 48 days until Spring.  I just googled it 🎕

But inside I remain warm with my candles lit and a hot coffee in my hands....always.  

This weeks plans include homemade minestrone soup, sourdough bread, and leftover chocolate cake...if there is any....

Happy last day of January Friends!  Stay warm! xoxo 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Pear Skillet Cake and prepping for a storm ♥

Hello Friends! Happy Friday 

I don't know where this week has gone.  Just a blink ago it was Monday.  Work has been busy for me and consumed most of my days.  I did find time to bake something yummy (which I'll get to in a moment) and I've also begun to reread my favorite book trilogy by Susan Branch. These are such comfort reads. I go back and fourth which one I love best. Such inspiration & joy come for Susan.  (we've been together long enough to be on a first name basis : ) 

I always go back to her whenever I feel stuck.  All the answers and in her books.  
 She's one of my favorite people ever 

 And speaking of reading, I'm planning on doing a lot of it this weekend because here in the Northeast we are expecting a HUGE snowstorm. I'm hearing measurements in feet, not inches.  Ugh.  That's when you know it's bad (FYI - I'm in the 18-24" range). 

I used to really love snow and now honestly, it stresses me out.  I don't mind a little dusting, but I'm not a fan of this..... 

I'm more of a fan of this...

...taken from a lovely walk earlier in the week after a light sugar coating of snow.  Perfect.
Sadly that's not what's coming later today.  

Well, there are some things we can't control and one is weather.  I've got all my provisions ready.  Books, candles, blankets (in case we lose power but praying we don't!), and FOOD.
I went to the grocery store yesterday, along with everybody else in my town, and stocked up on the essentials: milk & bread of course, ingredients for soup, hot chocolate, and plenty of snacks for movies.  It's going to be a long weekend. 

One thing I am excited about is my sourdough starter will be ready to bake! I've been feeding it and with some trial and error, I think she's ready to go....

She's bubbly and fluffy and had got the sourdough smell going on....which is a good sign.  
I will hopefully have my first sourdough loaf on Sunday.  Stay tuned! 

And now on to this yummy pear cake recipe that I am dying to share this with you.  It's baked in a cast iron skillet but you could easily use a cake pan if you don't have one.  I must say that cooking in cast iron is a dream and has accidently become a new obsession.  If you don't have one, I highly recommend it.  I was always a bit nervous to use cast iron but once I tried it I realized how easy it is and how wonderfully it works.  

Anywhooo, I was looking for something to have with tea in the afternoon.  Something sweet but not too sweet.  Something with cinnamon and maybe fruity.  I struck gold.  This pear skillet cake is DELICIOUS and looks very pretty too!! 

Here's how to make it: 

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
2 pears - one finely chopped, 1 sliced lengthwise - no need to peel : ) 

Crumble topping:
3 tbls flour
4 tbls brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cold butter
mix together with a fork or fingertips until crumbly 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease or butter (I used spray) an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet or cake pan
Cream butter and sugar
Beat in eggs, vanilla, and orange peel until light and fluffy
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger.  I used a wire whisk to get rid of the lumps 
Mix dry ingredients with creamed mixture until just blended
Mix in chopped pears
The batter will be very stiff
Spoon into skillet or pan and spread evenly
Arrange pear slices on top and sprinkle with crumble topping

Bake for 30-35 minutes 


Perfect for dunking : ) 

 Pin this on your baking list.  You won't be disappointed.  It's sooooo good! 

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  

If you are reading this from a warm climate on a beach somewhere I'm jealous of you! I'm hoping to do some Instagram reels and maybe a YouTube video this weekend too.  I'll share soon.  Stay safe and cozy everyone!  

Spring will eventually arrive.  It always does 


Monday, January 24, 2022

Current Favorite Beauty Products: Winter Edition ♥

Good Moring Friends! Happy Monday 

It's been a while since I've done a beauty post so this morning I thought I would share with you some of the things I've been loving lately.  This winter I've introduced a few new products to my beauty routine and I'm really happy with the results.  So in an effort to distract myself from the fact that it's Monday and that it's freeeezing cold outside, let's talk about beauty.

First off, I must admit to you that I am a total sucker for good packaging and just looking at this photo makes me happy : )  

I have been in the market for a new cleanser for a while and I hit the jackpot with Olay Luminous! I have always had great luck with Olay products.  There is something very special to me about using  tried and true products that our mothers and grandmothers used.  And let's face it, they had great skin! I've been using this at night to wash off my makeup.  It has little beads in it that act as a gentle exfoliator which is really nice and leaves my skin feeling CLEAN and soft.  The branding says it's a "brightening" cleanser and I have to agree.  I'm noticing a difference after only a few weeks and as an added bonus it smells amazing. 

Something everyone should use daily is sunscreen.  And not just in the summer! I used to never put sunscreen on my face. My excuse was that my makeup has SFP in it.  I was afraid of it being heavy and greasy.  I was very wrong.  I'm in total love with Supergood Glow Screen!!  It acts as a tinted moisturizer and has a slight glow in it.  I use it as my last (moisturizing) step before I put my foundation on.  It's so light I don't even feel it, but it gives me a nice healthy glow from underneath and better than that, I'm protected from the sun. 

Speaking of "healthy glow" here's another product that's working for me.  Bobbi Brown's highlighting powder is heavenly!  This one is definitely a splurge price wise, but I had a Sephora gift card that I got for Christmas to use so I went for it.  I've been stalking it online for a while and I just had to try it.  I'm a sucker for a good highlighter!  This one is blowing me away. It has soft pink tones which I think are flattering to my coloring.  

L'Oreal Lash Paradise is my new favorite mascara! Trust me, I've tried them all.  Two coats gives me the thick, full lashes that I'm going for!  I have always loved the Original L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara.  This formula is even better and I love the pink tube too! See....the packaging got to me! UGH.  Luckily it was worth it! 

I was gifted Red Aspen Nail Dashes by my Instagram friend Kimmi back in the fall.  I didn't know what to think of these at first.  After one application I was hooked! They are the most realistic faux nails I've ever used.  They are so easy to apply and I can take them off easily (without damage to my real nails) any time I want.  They are only about $12 a set and come in so many pretty colors.  I feel very "put together" when I have these one! 

And lastly I have to share with you this hand lotion that I received as a Christmas gift from my friend Julie.  Bath & Body Works HOPE - Winter Peach Marshmallow! OMG its heavenly.  I have it on my nightstand and apply it on my hands, arms, elbows, and sometimes my feet, right before bed.  I love, love, love it! 

Have you ever tried any of these products? If so, please let me know.  Also, if you have any recommendations for beauty items that you just can't live without, I would love to hear about them! 

I'm off to get a fresh coffee and get to work now, but this was a lovely way for me to start the week.  Wishing you all a beautiful day! xoxo 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Brownie Cookies (Brookies?)

"Can chocolate solve all of life's problems? No. But it sure can try."


Hello Friends! 

How are you this week?  

I have a question for you?  Say you have a batch of brownies.....are you a fan of the edges?  If your answer is YES then I have a treat for you! 

This weekend I made a discovery.  The brownie/cookie (brookie?) does indeed exist.  
It's not just a myth. 

And it's heavenly! 

On Sunday I had intended (to curb my chocolate craving) to make regular brownies, but then I came across this recipe for Brownie Cookies on Pinterest and I couldn't resist.  A brownie in cookie form??  Yes please.  They were super easy to make and taste delicious!  Slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside... a perfect marriage of brownie & cookie.  

Where have these been all my life? 

Curious?  Well, here you go... 

(do this all by hand, no mixer needed :)  

2 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. 

Set aside.

Add the butter and chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl.  Heat until melted, about 60 seconds.

Stir in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until blended.

Stir in the remaining dry ingredients until just combined. 

Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets.  

The cookies will spread so be sure they are at least 2 inches apart.

Bake 12 minutes. 

That's it! 


Delectable and waaaay too easy to eat.  And as you might already know about me, I'm a dunker.  
These are spot on for dunking and even better slightly warmed in the microwave. 
A few seconds is all you're welcome : ) 

Enjoy these with a hot beverage and a ray of sunshine.  

Here's a peek at some sun I enjoyed yesterday.  My plant enjoyed it too.  We have to take what we can get these days!  It's freezing cold here and I'm doing everything I can to stay warm and embrace all the hygge I can get my little hands on while I wait for spring 

Have a wonderful day friends! xoxo 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Hi there! How was your week? ♥

 Hello Friends! 

 I took this picture at 6:50am this morning. That's the time I drive John to school.  I know!!! 
 It's still dark most days and currently freezing cold.  We still have Christmas lights outside that I need to take in.  It's just been too cold I have to admit, I like the glow in the morning. It cheers me up at that ungodly hour. But alas, this weekend they are going bye-bye. Packed away until next year.  

As you can see, thanks to some rain and then sunshine (yay!) most of last week's snow has melted.  What remains are blocks of ice.  I just heard the weather lady say tomorrow's wind chill is going to feel like 20 below zero.  Oh dear.  How many days until Spring? 

We are in the thick of the dog days of winter now.  It's cold, dark, and a blizzard could hit at any minute.  I feel the word "hygge" in my bones these days.  My whole day revolves around finding it.  How do I make it happen. I bake a lot. Sunday I made blueberry muffins from the Magnolia Table cookbook Santa brought me.   I am loving this book.  It's the third recipe I've made from it and they all have been heavenly. 

*always in slippers*

The streusel topping is worth the extra step.  It's so yummy! 

I'm also working on something very exciting.....and here it is.... 

This jar contains day 1 of my very first sourdough starter!  Did I not say it was exciting? Well, that's as exciting as it gets around! Anyway I'm experimenting with this little baby.  I've been "feeding" it all week and on Sunday I should be able to bake a loaf of sourdough bread.  Something I've always wanted to do. 2022 is all about little victories and if I get an actual loaf of bread out of this, that will be a victory.  Remember me in your prayers! : ) 

I only went on one walk this week because it was just too cold and if you happened to see me you would have thought by the way I was bundled up that I was hitting the slopes for a day of skiing, rather than a 30 minute walk! haha.  The air was amazing though and so good for my mental health. More walks to come next week I hope. I'm know I'm asking for a cold blast by walking along the ocean but I just can't stay away. It's too beautiful. 

  Otherwise I worked (still from home of course), ate oatmeal, drank coffee & tea, made more soup, and cashed in some gift cards online, which is always exciting because now I have little deliveries to look forward to.  It beats going to actual stores which I avoid like the plague.  Maybe I've just forgotten how to be around crowds of people.  I find myself getting annoyed so easily and quickly! 

Terrible I know.  

*this is me*

My one venture out this week was to the grocery store. I go early in the morning and it's not too crowded which is nice.  In and out.  Boom.  What's disheartening are the shortages and price increases.  What the heck?  I find myself daydreaming of living on a picturesque farm somewhere with animals.  Growing my own veggies and having fresh eggs and milk right in my backyard.  Country farmhouses are very hygge, don't you agree?  

Do you follow The Food Nanny on Instagram? If not you should.  Her farmhouse is dreamy and I'm slightly obsessed with it.  She also has a baby cow name Cherry.  Also, obsessed. 


Last night I made the Italian Peasant Soup (found on the website I linked).  It has sausage, beans, garlic, spinach....all the good things.  And it's delicious. I'll be eating it for lunch for the next few days which makes my heart sing with JOY!   I want to make all her recipes!

And that was pretty much my week.  I hope you all have a cozy weekend.  My weekend plans include bread, laundry, Netflix, and hot beverages! xoxo 

Friday, January 7, 2022

Snow Day! ♥

Good Morning and Happy Friday! 

I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow.  Our first significant snow of the season.  I poured my coffee and swiftly stepped out on the back porch to get a look. The snow covered trees and frozen river look like a winter wonderland.  I'm so glad it's Friday and we are all home to enjoy it. It's still coming down and will so until early afternoon.

Its a French toast, cozy socks, #hygee kind of morning.  
My favorite kind 

January is off to a good start for me. I got my booster shot yesterday, checked two doctors appointments off my calendar, made two new recipes (that I will share here soon!) and made a conscious effort to get outdoors and walk.  I did it twice this week which is good for me! Even though it's cold, the winter air is  wonderful and fills my lungs with joy.  I've been feeling the stresses of life catching up with me recently and I've learned what works for me to quiet them.  One is walking! 

One of the benifits to living near the ocean is always having a scenic place to walk.  This is helpful in getting me out the door and once I'm there I don't want to leave.

And once I'm home I reward myself : )

Amen to this! 

Another goal I have for the future is utilizing all the cookbooks I have! I have so many beautiful books and rarely make recipes out of them.  I decided to start making some of these lovely recipes.  It's makes me feel so good to cook delicious healthy food for my family. I'm on a food journey this year.  I'll share everything I make with you! 


One thing I am really bad at is eating LUNCH.  

I never want to stop and take the time.  Leftovers have changed all that. Knowing I have something hearty in the fridge makes me excited for lunchtime.  I've been making extra portions so I'll have enough to last the week. Especially soup 

Hot lunches are way underrated!

I am loving this book right now : ) 

And now we're back to today.  It's still snowing!  

I've already gotten requests for hot chocolate later and I'm going to try to convince my family to watch Harry Potter.  It seems appropriate for a snowy magical weekend.  Don't you agree? 

Have a wondering weekend, friends!  

I hope you are all warm, cozy, safe, and healthy!  


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

What I'm Reading ♥

 I read this book over Christmas break and hung on every word.  What an amazing woman she was.  I remember being seven years old and watching her wedding.  The coach, that dress...just wow.  When she died I did not believe it.  I cried when Elton John sang "goodbye English rose" at her funeral.  It was so incredibly sad.  Still is.  I've watched her sons marry, grandchildren born, and as a curious American  have followed the Queen and Royal family over years, always wondering if they still think of her.  

Now I ask myself, how after all these years had I not read THIS book? This infamous book that caused all the scandle.  She was brave to do it and I admire her courage.  It was an incredible read and even though I knew the story, it was still eye opening reading her words.  Of course after I finished I had to do some "research" and fact checking.  This lead me down a YouTube rabbit hole that I'm still not  completely out of.  I've watched interviews, listened to podcasts, watched The Queen (with Helen Mirren) for the first time, and rewatched the last 2 seasons of the Crown.  I'm still gutted by the way that we have to wait until 2023 for the next season!

I love reading biographies!  So who should I read next?  

Let me know if you have any suggestions